Facebook is informing 14 million users across the globe regarding a bug that changed the privacy settings of the users from default to public, which could have resulted to them broadcasting updates publicly accidentally that were meant for their friends only. The bug was discovered in mid-May, and the platform is currently urging the users who were affected to review their privacy settings in case they had been switched inadvertently.
In a statement that was provided by Erin Egan, the chief privacy officer of Facebook, she wrote: “We recently found a bug that automatically suggested posting publicly when some people were creating their Facebook posts. We have fixed this issue and starting today we are letting everyone affected know and asking them to review any posts they made during that time. To be clear, this bug did not impact anything people had posted before – and they could still choose their audience just as they always have. We’d like to apologize for this mistake”.
The said bug became active on the 18th of May and the social media giant began releasing a fix on the 22nd, even though they did not revert the status settings of everyone until the 27th. It all happened when the platform began building a ‘featured items’ section in the profiles for users to highlight the content of their choosing. Those were set to be visible publicly, however, Facebook accidentally extended the said setting to all the new posts of users.
Facebook has already reset the status setting of everyone to what they had prior to the bug. It is planning to show more of these kinds of notification to be more forthcoming in the future. However, after the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the reports that the firm provided user data to device makers such as Samsung, promising to be open regarding technical mishaps seems very insignificant in the face of the history of Facebook of willfully handing over the information of its userbase.